Grants and residencies

Research and art

MA LaFleur William

122450 €

Regenerative Agriculture and the Value of Care: Towards a socio-ecologically just circular economy

Tieteellinen tutkimus ja taiteellinen työ / niihin pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

The research examines tensions between neoliberal environmental governance and the circular economy's conceptual orientation toward restoration and regeneration through an empirical study of regenerative agriculture at two farms in Finland. The objective is to analyse the economic viability of regenerative agriculture—theorised as a practice of care—in a circular economy that demands 'scalability' and, evidently, privileges exchange value over all other forms of value. The study addresses emerging empirical and conceptual knowledge gaps related to regenerative agriculture’s role and practical implementation in the circular economy. Grounded in Deleuzian-inspired more-than-representational theories and an ecofeminist ethics of care, the project theorises that processes of restoration and regeneration are fundamentally outcomes of everyday, often tacit (e.g. more-than-representational) care work. From this, I hypothesis: the economic viability of regenerative agriculture in the circular economy will require the privileging of values grounded in socio-ecological and sensory relations of care. Yet, these relations remain invisible and un(der)valued in circular economy conceptualisations. I employ three theory-methodologies: a) sensory ethnography (Pink, 2015) attends to the sensory qualities of experience to understand non-rational, non-discursive features of everyday life, using audio/video capture of fieldwork and mobile interviews to produce multi-media/multi-sensory presentations; b) Critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 2010) examines discursive rationalities and value assumptions in key circular economy documents; and c) Non-scalability theory (Tsing, 2012) seeks to denaturalise, historicise, and imagine alternative scalabilities. The project aims to refine circular economy food system conceptualisations and generate theory that makes socio-ecological relations and practices of care visible to policymakers by identifying tangible areas for value attribution.